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Industry Interview: Steph van Niekerk On Presenting and Packaging Ideas That Engage People

Steph van Niekerk, Creative Director at Grey Advertising.

In our exclusive Modern Marketing Industry Interview series, we feature Steph van Niekerk, a Creative Director at Grey Advertising who discusses creating insightful campaigns that engage people.

Early life

I started off by studying Business Science at UCT as I was good at Mathematics and Science and never considered myself to be a creative. During those days, it was either you were a creative or you were clever. I got into advertising out of ‘scare rebellion’, it was exactly what my dad did not want me to do, but I did it anyway. I went and still go to the Red & Yellow School of Advertising – I got an internship when I was 20.’

Career highlights

Van Niekerk’s work experience includes Ogilvy Cape Town, Jupiter Drawing Room, Lowe Bull and more. ‘The most recent highlight was being part of a team that created the Citilodge radio advert, The Real Cost, which was the first Zulu radio spot that won a Cannes and D&AD One show award.’

What have you enjoyed the most about working in this industry?

‘We get to work with amazing, smart, passionate, people who are natural problem solvers. There is magic when you get to work with a lot of different experts in their fields, especially when it comes to the production of a film or advert as everyone pulls together for a common cause. I love that part of my job. I truly am amazed by the amount of talent that is out there. The truth about this industry is that no two days are the same, except for now during Covid-19.’ 

Industry-related changes 

Culture: advertising was crazy – there was a culture of long lunches, sex, drugs, alcohol and rock and roll. But over the years, with the rise of holding companies, the culture is changing and has become a lot more corporate and business-like in a sense. The good part about it is that the myth of being wild and self-destructive in order to be perceived as a creative, which was dangerous, in no longer a thing. I have noticed more people stepping in to help when they see someone in trouble, which is good as over the years I have a seen a lot of young talent blowing out before they even started.

Transformation: it is not where it needs to be, and it is coming in a bit too slow. But the growth of young black talent in the last decade has been amazing. Now we need to nurture, support and encourage this amazing talent and make sure that they get to the next level, such as management positions.

I have worked with a lot of females in my career thus far. When I was a younger creative, I thought it was much more equal as my peers were girls but as I climbed the ranks, I started to see fewer women in higher positions. We have lost a lot of female talent to emigration, and that is something we need to be aware of.

To hear more about keys to executing a successful campaign, 2020 major advertising trends and van Niekerk’s hobbies or interests, watch the rest of the interview below.

Keys to success

‘The key to being successful in the advertising industry is resilience. It is not an easy industry – you need to roll with the punches and ride it out. There are many peaks and great moments that crash in disappointments and everything in-between. Do not give up.

‘As a creative, I have also realised that a good idea is one part of the job, but you still need to package it in a way that works for the clients and the consumers. Once you realise this, it suddenly all makes sense. The idea is 60% of the work and 40% is how you pull it together and present it to the world.’

Van Niekerk’s favourite campaign is the Citi Lodge Real Cost radio advert below:

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OneOff Launches Customised T-Shirt Design, Order and Deliver Website

OneOff’s new T-shirt design website allows users to select their own design and order online anywhere, anytime, from any device. Users can select a garment style from the company’s catalogue of quality products. The T-shirts can also be customised, with clients able to design their own shirt, and upload their own branding, wording or graphics. 

Full-colour direct to garment (DTG) branding from one item is available – there are no screen or setup costs. OneOff digital printing processes have been developed to address quality, efficiency and cost, using the latest in printing technology to deliver cutting edge digital printing options. Their advanced print-on-demand technology provides what users want when they want it. There is no more inventory and no more obsolete stock. Inventory or warehousing can be things of the past, and if you are a printer or wholesaler, there are no more prepress expenses associated with conventional printing processes.

OneOff digital printing is the future of printing and delivers high-quality full-colour printing, with no minimum orders, quick turnarounds and shipped directly to you or your customers. The apparel is printed with digital speed and precision.

The company is committed to creating value and sustainability throughout their manufacturing process – their T-shirts are manufactured in South Africa. From the sourcing of the cotton to the delivery of their garments, they constantly monitor and improve their processes, enhancing the Southern African value chain. 

They are also able to offer you an affiliate website, for free, and customised to your requirements with your own graphics. This is for you to advertise to your customers and for the orders placed to go to them to fulfil and send to you or directly to your customer – without you having to lift a finger to place the purchase order, control the print approval, fetch stocks, or have the goods delivered. You just reap the profits. For more detailed information, please contact: Info@OneOff.co.za

To place your orders, resellers can visit www.OneOff.co.za and retailers can visit www.OneOff-Retail.co.za. Only available in Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga at the moment. 

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Tips For Influencers To Package Themselves Better For Marketing Campaigns

TT Ndhlovu, Founder and Director of NuWave Communications.

TT Ndhlovu, Founder and Director of NuWave Communications, states that marketers have grown to understand influencer marketing very well and can be rightfully finicky when having to select influencers to work on a brand campaign.

It’s pivotal for influencers to know this in order to package themselves in a way that is fitting to this criterion or they could be wondering why they’re simply not getting noticed.  It goes without saying that social media ‘influencerville’ has grown considerably over the years and marketers have embraced this wave, which has given their brands an opportunity to communicate messages in a way that has never been done before.

The world has changed: people don’t want to engage with brands, they want to engage with people. They want brands to listen to them, they want to create personalised connections that go beyond a one-size-fits-all broadcast message.

In this day and age, it takes more than just showcasing impressively large numbers of followers as a selling point. Influencers now find themselves in a space where they need to put some serious thought into what it is that they’re influencing and truly understanding their niche, packaging of tasteful content and what the stats behind every post and campaign actually mean.

The more influencer marketing grows, the higher the expectations from influencers as content creators. Back then, influencers could get away with just posting, trending a topic and moving on the next campaign but now a trending topic needs to come with greater analytics in order to track success on a campaign and that’s an area that influencers need to examine with a fine-tooth comb.

How to package yourself better for future marketing campaigns:

Content creation, appeal to the audience and audience relationships

Content lies at the centre of what social media influencers do, so it goes without saying that they need to critically consider the content they put out and what it looks like. Marketers also look at the relationship influencers have with their community and how they interact with each other. Do your followers look to you for information that affects their purchase decisions?

Number of followers in relation to impact, engagement, reach and real followers

Of course, the number of followers you have still matters, but there’s an added layer of how they engage with your content. Do your posts have reach? What percentage of your following is real or not? It happens that social media influencers have a high following but produce very little impact, engagement and reach.

Find your tribe and stick to it

There are various communities that influencers advocate for, and often those communities form part of a brand’s target market. In South Africa, we have influencers with strong voices in the music, fashion, beauty, fitness, food and travel cultures, and many brands find their passion points in these and other spaces; often relying on influencer partnerships to create conversations that infiltrate these cultures and their subcultures.

Although influencers can find themselves thriving in these spaces, understanding their audience, what makes them tick and the extent in which they connect with each other’s content makes them stand out amongst the pack.


Marketers will always want to know if the social media influencer makes sense for their budget. Usually, this is where the negotiations come in. It’s here that most marketers will want to get the most out of their buck for the brief at hand, and where most influencers and their managers will want to consider the scope of work and length, a potential new relationship, and the budget available (among other factors) in meeting the required brand objectives. Influencers need to have competitive, industry related rates as this will always make negotiations easier.

Previous work (with competitors)

Most marketers will always check your social media pages to see your previous work and particularly look at whether you’ve worked with any of their competitors and to what extent. This is an important element to think about and can’t be stressed enough.

Relationship with brand and authenticity

Has the influencer actually used the brand’s products? Having a relationship with a brand that you’re looking to work with is always a bonus. There’s nothing like an influencer that doesn’t drink beer but works on a beer campaign, although marketers can overlook this sometimes.

Influencer brand fit and personality

Does the influencer and his/her lifestyle fit the brand image? An influencer brand fit analysis will always help marketers find influencers who are the best fit for their brand, influencers with the right personality and attitude to represent the brand externally. Accessibility can sometimes be a hindrance in marketing messages reaching the desired target audiences authentically.

Influencer expectations vs brand expectations

Influencer’s expectations will always matter to marketers, and sometimes these expectations can be the reason why they don’t get the brief. We should remember that expectations will always differ from influencer to influencer. Some influencers have worked with many brands previously, so they may have their own processes on how they conduct business.

Essentially, influencers need to have an understanding of the industry, how it works and where they come in so that they can co-exist in an ever-growing eco-system. These are just some pointers for influencers and aspiring influencers to consider. It will help them get into the minds of marketers for a second and be able to package themselves better for future considerations and recommendations.

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Crafting Shareable Online Content

Abhishek Borah, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Marketing.

To help overcome consumer fatigue, Abhishek Borah, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Marketing, and his co-authors launched a research study to explore the potential for social media communication that customers do not get tired of and, on the contrary, love to share with others.

Crafting social media posts that drive both clicks and profits and how to engage customers effectively in the digital world remains a mystery for many businesses today. And it will not get easier anytime soon, because a growing number of consumers are frustrated by, and suspicious of, digital communications such as online advertisements.  In short, we encourage businesses to trade upon a provocative and novel marketing tool, namely Improvised Marketing Interventions (IMI).

What’s an IMI?

An IMI (a term we coined for the paper) is a marketing communication launched on the back of a high-profile event as it is happening. The real-time, endlessly scrolling nature of social media newsfeeds makes them the ideal medium for IMI, but email messages, web browser notifications, etc. could be vehicles for IMI too.

A textbook example of an IMI is Oreo’s famous tweeted graphic from the 2013 Super Bowl, inspired by a power outage that stopped the game cold for half an hour, ‘Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.’ In addition to unexpectedly commenting on events as they unfolded, Oreo’s ad used humour to promote affection for the product – a combination that led not only to its going viral but also to a healthy financial reward, our research suggests.

The impact of IMI

We began by digging deeper into the Oreo tweet and its effect on the brand’s virality (as measured by retweets) before and after the ‘dunk in the dark’ marketing coup. Comparing the hour before the tweet to the hour after, we noted a more than a six-fold increase in Oreo retweets per second, from 7.5 to 48. These were not the raw numbers (which recorded a much higher tweet count per second of 115 post-‘dunk in the dark’), but the figures as they stood after we accounted for the unusually high volume of Twitter activity during the 30 minute blackout period.

Further experiments confirmed that humour and timeliness were key drivers of virality. For our second study, we showed 800 participants fake tweets and asked them to rate them for humour, timeliness and surprise, as well as their willingness to retweet. We found that tweets that were judged as both funny and surprising, as well as funny and timely, inspired far more social media sharing spirit. The third study analysed 462 actual IMI tweets sent between 2010 and 2015 (with the help of human coders evaluating the attributes of each one). Not only were the ones in the humour-timeliness-surprise sweet spot more viral, but their virality seemed to translate into an abnormal bump in the associated companies’ stock price in the days immediately following.

Finally, in studies four and five, our findings were further reinforced through a separate set of comparisons. First, we compare a sub-set of tweets (both IMI and non-) from the airline industry, then a complete set of tweets sent by 25 firms (randomly selected from the S&P 500) during April 2019. Again, humour and timeliness, as well as humour and surprise, added up to virality. Tweets with all three qualities were correlated with a 0.4 percent increase in abnormal stock market returns on average. This boost equates to a per-firm average of 5.1 million USD in market capitalisation.

The five rules

1. Use quick wit

Wit or appreciation of humour has a major influence on the quality of an interaction and shapes the impression one forms of another. However, sending a funny tweet is not good enough, we found. Instead, the effectiveness of a tweet’s humour is closely associated with timing and surprise.

2. Engage social media users in a conversation about what is happening now

People in general and internet users, in particular, have a desire to engage spontaneously with events as they happen. This helps users contribute to their communities in more valuable and meaningful ways than they could with outdated and uninteresting news. Timeliness in response to an external event injects new fuel into a marketing communication’s humour, providing more impetus for people’s desire to bond with others via the swift sharing of a tweet.

3. Co-opt external events

Rather than paying millions for a Super Bowl ad, businesses may consider sending a witty and timely (or unanticipated) tweet related to:

  • Tent-pole events, which occur at regular intervals (e.g. Oscars, Grammys or Olympic Games – when these are revived after the Covid-19 crisis).
  • Specific events on established dates for which some details remain uncertain (e.g. messages designed to stoke the mystery about anticipated products such as the iPhone 12).
  • Specific events on uncertain dates (e.g. speculations about when a Covid-19 vaccine will become available).
  • Trending topics addressed by popular Twitter hashtags (e.g. #launchamerica or #BlackLivesMatter).

4. Trust and empower your marketing team

Many managers believe that a firm’s marketing message is best planned well ahead. Potential advantages of such an approach are well understood. However, this strategy can also lead to a brand being seen as out of touch, drifting from its target audience and failing to capture the zeitgeist. We encourage firms to empower marketing teams with the latitude to keep a close eye on trends and spontaneous chatter so they can quickly formulate witty messages in response to these events.

5. Relinquish some control over tweets’ content at times

For their team to respond to external events as they unfold, businesses may need to relinquish some level of control over the message at times. Be aware, however, that a marketing team may hit the ‘send’ button too quickly. To protect themselves against backlash, firms must identify the right employees to execute witty and timely tweets – their sense of humour and timing should be on point and not offensive.

Increasing the impact

As our research highlights, tweets that manage to go viral are not only about enhanced market capitalisation, but also relate to investor foresight and signalling. If investors can spot tweets that pair humour with surprise or timeliness, they will be able to make better investment decisions. Managers can use these tweets strategically, to signal their firm’s performance and marketing capabilities to financial markets (more often than they could via quarterly reports).

Co-authors of the study were: Sourindra Banerjee, Lecturer, Leeds University Business School; Yu-Ting Lin, Teaching and Research Associate in Marketing, Imperial College Business School; Apurv Jain, CEO and Co-Founder, MacroXstudio; and Andreas B. Eisingerich, Professor of Marketing and Head of Analytics, Marketing and Operations, Imperial College Business School.

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Opportunities For Brands In Gaming, eSports And Content Creation

Neo Mtshatsheni, Media Strategist at The MediaShop.

According to Neo Mtshatsheni, Media Strategist at The MediaShop, platforms like Instagram and Facebook Live have certainly proved their worth over the past few months.

Moving away from posting images of themselves enjoying a meal at the coolest, trendiest restaurant or spotting their latest pair of jeans, sneakers or sunglasses, South Africa’s youth have used these platforms to engage on issues ranging from racism, gender based violence (GBV), etc.

Despite the pandemic holding many hostage in their homes, South Africans have continued to find innovative ways to have their voices heard and to show off their skills through, for example, gaming or content creation.

From a channel perspective, digital was always going to reap more benefit from this audience and the lockdown period has certainly affirmed this, especially in the eSports category and on social media.

Instagram TV (IGTV) saw its first Instavella created by Ayanda Mkayi, which depicts the lives of individuals living in an apartment block in Johannesburg during the national lockdown, with all scenes shot individually from the actors’ homes. Shooting ads and general TV production during lockdown was prohibited and now despite the extensive safety measures that are put in place, production still falls victim to the invisible Covid-19 enemy halting production. But fresh, relatable content remains key and as there is a growing need for local content, IGTV soapies are something to look out for!

On the eSports front, South Africa may not compare to its global counterparts in terms of the sheer size of active gamers but the interest and gaming community numbers are increasing steadily and will continue to do so. For every mobile device in hand lies a gamer and current stats show that 71% of connected South Africans play games exclusively from their mobile device. And for a category that is usually perceived to be predominantly male, 63% of them are women aged 30, and 50% of them are older than 34 years and are using the platform as a means to escape their everyday lives. There are also many that play competitively against their male counterparts.

Console owners also provide a sizeable opportunity for marketers with 53.8% of households having children that go to school. 39% are 35-49 years and 25% are 24-34 years. This audience might have a male skew, but paired with the mobile universe it most certainly delivers numbers and diversity.

Most importantly, right now in South Africa mobile gaming is probably also the easiest way to buy media and get your brand in front of eyes. The growth in this category has been exponential compared to general entertainment. The global e-sports industry has been growing at a rate of 30% year on year and the PC gaming market is set to be worth 788.1 billion ZAR (45.5 billion USD) in 2021! The global box office, which generated revenue to the tune of 722.2 billion ZAR  (41.7 billion USD) in 2008 and the gaming market generated 2.6 trillion ZAR (151.2 billion USD). With fewer eyeballs available for live sports and more time indoors, this category is certainly one that cannot be ignored.

As marketers, with the ever-changing landscape and demographic, we are constantly challenged to not only look for meaningful insights but re-evaluating the norm as the bar continues to be set high. Change is the only constant throughout this.

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2020 South African Digital Customer Experience Reports Vital Behavioural Changes

Responses from 2000 consumers in the 2020 South African Digital Customer Experience Survey revealed that digital customer experiences have held steady since 2019. This is promising given that globally there’s been a significant decline in satisfaction as customer expectations have evolved.

The report also outlines vital behavioural changes that took place during Covid-19 – habits that are believed will endure. The 2020 South African Digital Customer Experience (CX) Report is the second annual survey carried out by digitally-driven marketing and advertising agency, Rogerwilco, market research company, ovatoyou and certified customer experience professional, Julia Ahlfeldt.

The 24-question survey was served to ovatoyou’s panel of more than 18,000 online South Africans during May 2020, with a total of 2000 consumers completing it. The study’s key findings have been supported by qualitative interviews with experts across the country’s CX and marketing fields.

Global research suggests that acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. And with competition expected to intensify and as markets continue to be disrupted in the current economy, those brands that fail to deliver exceptional customer experiences will see their hard-earned customers switch to a competitor.

Earn consumer advocacy through good CX

One of the most profound insights gleaned from this year’s research shows that consumers become advocates of a brand that they have a positive encounter with, happily sharing their experience with family and peers. Further, it’s estimated that only 50% of programmatic advertising reaches its target audience. ‘This suggests that local brands are wasting over R1bn on failed acquisition – money that could have been spent on building a better understanding of existing customers and creating experiences that foster loyalty,’ said Charlie Stewart, CEO of Rogerwilco.

61% of respondents cited social distancing as a driver for online use

Naturally, Covid-19 has accelerated online behaviour. The big online category winners were grocery shopping, health and fitness, and education. One of the commentators reported that their online payment service grew the number of merchants using its platform by 400% in April and March 2020. The biggest influx of new customers was SMEs that pivoted their business models to launch e-commerce platforms as demand for online shopping exploded under lockdown regulations.

Where online fails

For consumers, however, the overall digital experience fell flat as inefficiencies in underlying business models continued to interfere in the delivery of consistently good experiences. Sadly, many of these frustrations are due to simple oversights. Common deterrents included slow sites/apps, nobody to help online, limited product information and sometimes products falling short of expectations.

Delivery is one of the leading causes of consumer disappointment. Areas of concern were high delivery fees, items being damaged en-route and delivery taking too long.

E-commerce sites were guilty of promising delivery dates that they were unable to meet. Frustrations led to cancelled orders and cancelled orders led to negative sentiment towards the brand. Ahlfeldt described the delivery as a moment of truth. She explained, ‘Customers take late delivery very seriously and losing them could not only cost brands revenue but also damage brand reputation. When it goes wrong, a consumer’s faith in the entire online experience can falter.’

The CX study found that unreliable payment solutions were a major pain point for consumers, as were their concerns about security. In addition, respondents said that payment options were limited and that not all banks were represented.

A recurring theme amongst those surveyed was that consumers expect better communication from online businesses. Unanswered enquiries, rude call centre agents, and/or a lack of information around the order progress were listed as some of the challenges. At the same time, 49% prefer real-life interactions with online service providers. Stewart emphasised the need for brands to improve communication. He expressed, ‘The current state of brand communication is akin to running the first 42km of a marathon and giving up in the final 200m. Poor communication leads to poor customer service, which leads to lost customers.’

Rise of the self-sold customer

Consumers who spend significant time online comparing products, reviews and prices are being dubbed the ‘Self-Sold Customer’. These individuals are invaluable to brands because they are already ready to buy in-store following research online. Almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) gather information online but prefer to transact in a physical brick and mortar environment. 

Customers know when they’re not being prioritised and will go elsewhere. Amanda Reekie of ovatoyou said, ‘Many of the issues that stood in the way of a great experience related to the way the offering had been designed. No amount of online finesse and functionality can hide weaknesses and a lack of customer-centricity at the heart of an offer. Customers have to be at the core of the design of a business from the start, and this means including them in testing both business concepts and the end-to-end experience itself.’ Ahlfeldt agrees and stated, ‘Until businesses start making strategic decisions with the customer in mind, we can expect to see experiences that miss the mark.’

Bigger online grocery stores’ CX did not fare well under Covid-19

49% of respondents said that the items they were looking for were out of stock. In comparison, 34% abandoned transactions because of lengthy delivery timelines.

Customers expressed frustration that fresh produce had passed its expiry date, that they were charged for out stock items, that substitutions were made without their consent, that sites were slow and that customer service was poor. Convenience, speed and ease-of-use are the primary reasons for going online to get things done. Those that offer a process that is less than convenient, or fails to deliver on time, will not meet expectations, ruining the overall customer experience. 

The 2020 SA Digital CX Report demonstrates that brands need to adopt new strategies to engage, acquire and retain their customers. It’s evident that a good experience engenders a high level of advocacy.

Stewart expressed, ‘While senior marketing practitioners and business leaders from a range of industries have reviewed the survey insights and shared their professional commentary around the impact on local brands and the digital CX community, we hope it will result in some serious reflection by all marketers. We anticipate a potential restructuring of marketing campaigns to ensure sufficient emphasis is placed on translating this intent into action.’

The survey’s expert panel of commentators includes exclusive input from representatives at Gumtree, Nestlé, Nedbank, Wesbank, Sanlam Investments, Multichoice, RMB, Woolworths, Zulzi, Cape Union Mart, Peach Payments, Nissan and Old Mutual. If ever evidence was required to support the need for continued investment in digital CX, this report provides it. To download survey, click here.

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Nedbank IMC 2020 Virtual Conference Features World-Class Line-Up

The Nedbank IMC 2020 conference will be screened live via green screen studios in Johannesburg, Cape Town and London. The format remains the 15-minute Ted Talk style that the conference has become known for. The first-of-its-kind marketing conference in South Africa will take place virtually on Friday 24 July 2020.

The organisers of the marketing event are excited about the take-up of the new format. ‘When we decided to go digital, we were curious to see how the market would respond. But it seems the premium event, with its world-class line-up, is as enticing as ever,’ said Dale Hefer, IMC CEO. ‘There will be no death by webinar with this conference.’

The theme of the conference this year has been updated to ‘Marketing works. More than ever. Work it.’ Delegates can look forward to watching top local and international marketing thought leaders presenting on the day.

‘We are looking forward to welcoming everyone online in what is set to be a ground-breaking South African conference,’ said Nthabiseng Matshekga, Executive Head: Nedbank Group Marketing and one of the 18 speakers to present on the day.


To book your spot at the 24 July virtual conference go to www.imcconference.com.

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Machine_ Uses StoryStackr Platform For Sanlam Digital Experience Content

Machine launched a digital experience content platform titled StoryStackr and Sanlam Group is the first of Machine’s clients to use the platform to energise its content and communications offering during the challenges of remote working.

Machine’s content marketing specialisation, led by Sarah Browning-de Villiers, Machine’s Chief Content Officer, is the driving force behind its partnership with the Sanlam Group. She explained that printed material was untenable during stricter lockdown levels, and employees and stakeholders are experiencing email fatigue at a whole new level. ‘In addition, digital experience platforms traditionally used by publishers, like PDF flipbook solutions, simply do not offer a truly customisable and immersive experience for users.’

She said that since winning Sanlam Group’s internal communications business, effective February 2020, Machine has been hard at work reimagining the group’s internal communications content strategy with its communications team. ‘But none of us saw the curveball that would hit as we were ready to re-launch with Sanlam.’ 

‘We’ve been working on an immersive storytelling experience supercharged by smart tech –  StoryStackr – for a few months, but Covid-19 catalysed this effort and shone a spotlight on the need for a product like this,’ she added. ‘We’re delighted it has launched at a time when our clients need it most, starting with Sanlam.’

‘We believe in the increasing need for our clients to build authentic relationships with customers and stakeholders in a more holistic way than simply talking about their services or products. We are all demanding more from brands – we want to see them add value to our lives, not try to sell us something. That’s exactly the challenge that our content marketing practice solves.’

StoryStackr, which Browning-de Villiers described as, ‘an immersive, digital storytelling experience supercharged by smart tech’ is part of Machine’s content marketing specialist offering, created in partnership with the Publicis Data Sciences Africa team. Critically, no capital expenditure or build is required. We’ve worked with Publicis Data Sciences to ensure it  easily integrates with third-party platforms, and keep it customisable and flexible for technical teams to work with.’

‘StoryStackr has an innumerable number of use cases for clients,’ added Gareth Forbes, VP: Publicis Data Sciences. ‘From gamified content experiences and interactive onboarding journeys to immersive product catalogues and manuals or – in the case of Sanlam – an interactive digital magazine experience. Publicis Data Sciences also offers a host of data solutions that enable our clients to create custom experiences for users, as well as harness the insights and use them in their broad ecosystems without any whisper of the dreaded word ‘build’.’

A much-loved component of Sanlam Group’s internal communications includes a print magazine, newly launched in April as Sanlam Connect. ‘Of course, with the challenges of lockdown, it quickly became clear we couldn’t print or distribute printed material,’ explained Browning-de Villiers. Within a matter of weeks, StoryStackr was harnessed, launching Sanlam Group’s first fully immersive and interactive content experience for internal staff and stakeholders. 

‘It is exciting to be the first company to use StoryStackr, and to launch such an immersive digital experience as part of our internal communications,’ said Sydney Mbhele, Executive: Brand at Sanlam. ‘The feedback has been overwhelming. In a staff survey conducted, we’ve quickly seen that this new, digitally innovative solution helps to cut through the clutter of email communications in busy workdays. In these unprecedented times of remote working, this has never been more important, especially for a large company like Sanlam. We’re better positioned to equip our teams with the information they need to feel empowered, connected and informed, wherever they are working from across our footprint in 33 African countries and other markets such as the UK.’

‘StoryStackr is scalable and enjoyable, it completely changes how stakeholders experience your brand. My clients know I believe in the power of print, if the objectives and strategy are right. But Covid-19 has reminded us of the ever-present need to flex and adapt quickly. StoryStackr is an invaluable tool for this,’ concluded Browning-de Villiers.

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Modern Marketing Digital TrendCamp: Communication And Content Across The Digital Marketing Landscape In The New Normal

Our Modern Marketing Digital TrendCamp video features David Jenkins, Director of Mickey Llew, whose video focuses on communicating and content dissemination across the digital marketing landscape in the ‘new normal.’

The video is live on our YouTube channel – don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more videos on advertising/branding/marketing trends and topics.


Send a 3-4 minute audible video of yourself at home. The video should be about a general advertising/branding/marketing trend/topic (not a product or company promotion).

To submit your video and for more information, please contact thapy@practicalpublishing.co.za

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Joe Public United Announces Cape Town Agency

Branding and communications group, Joe Public United, announced the launch of its Cape Town agency, which enables the group to expand its capabilities and extend its unique offering to markets outside of Johannesburg.

Joe Public Cape Town will be led by Cape-based Brendan Hoffmann as Executive Creative Director, who returns to Joe Public after 11 years, thanks to the opening of the new Mother City office.

Brendan Hoffmann, newly appointed Joe Public Cape Town Executive Creative Director.

Standing at the midpoint of 2020, one could make a fair profit on a bet that the six-letter word leading discussions in virtual boardroom meetings for the majority of companies across the globe this year, is not ‘growth’.

But while Joe Public United is no stranger to the complexities and challenges that the ‘corona’ pandemic has brought with it, it has also never been known to shy away from an opportunity to expand its purpose, even in the harshest of climates.

Hoffmann started with the agency in 2005 as a young art director and has 17 years of experience, in both traditional and digital advertising channels – most recently leading the 20-strong creative department at Publicis Machine Cape Town as Group Creative Director.

‘We are fortunate to be building on the foundations of a robust Joe Public value system, with a clearly defined growth purpose to lead us from the very first step. To this end, our focus will be on growing our clients’ brands through innovative, effective creative solutions, born from rigorous, insight-driven strategies with clear and measurable objectives,’ Hoffmann said.

Hoffmann is joined by Matt Quarta, a senior Integrated Strategic Planner, who brings to the partnership his extensive expertise in the digital landscape, particularly in data and analytics, and brand and communication strategy. Quarta has been with Joe Public since 2017.

‘We are delighted to be starting our Cape Town agency with a team as dynamic and accomplished as Hoffmann and Quarta. The venture into Cape Town is a fantastic opportunity for us to expand our creative ambition of growing our clients with excellent creative output that resonates and connects with the man on the street,’ said Chief Creative Officer of Joe Public, Xolisa Dyeshana.

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